Marks & Spencer +3.34%
Shares have pulled back in Marks & Spencer during early morning trading today after the company reported a 1% improvement in like-for-like sales for the eight weeks to Christmas that provided a boost in the share price to take the supermarket out of negative territory. Marks & Spencer reported a 2.1% drop in Q3 like-for-like general merchandise sales and a 1.6% increase in Q3 like-for-like food sales.
British property development company, Hammerson, has today revealed it will acquire the Saint Sebastien shopping centre. The centre, based in France, will cost Hammerson £109m and it will own a majority stake in it. The company expects the centre to generate annual rent of £7m which equates to a 6% yield. The shopping centre currently houses 105 restaurants and stores with no empty units at present.
Electronics and technology specialists, Laird, have told investors H2 (ended Dec 31) trading has been significantly stronger than H1. The improvements are due to the higher demand in materials for smartphones.
Restaurant Group +4.03%
Restaurant Group has today reported a 9% increase in turnover for the 52 weeks ended Dec 29 and also a 3.5% increase in like-for-like sales. The positive news reported this morning has resulted in the company adding full-year profit is expected to be ahead of market expectations. Restaurant Group, which owns chains such as Chiquito, Garfunkel’s and Frankie & Benny’s, is expecting to open between 36 – 43 new sites throughout 2014.
Pace has today revealed full-year results for 2013 will be ahead of the board’s expectations. The product developer for broadband providers also added that it is confident of continuing with further positive progress throughout 2014. The company expects revenue for the year ended Dec 31 to be $2.46 billion, up 2.4% compared to $2.4 billion a year earlier.
High street UK bakery firm, Greggs, has said this morning that they will cut around 410 jobs after implementing structural changes to its business during 2014. Some of the changes happening throughout 2014 are to de-commission some in-store bakeries which may result in 300 job losses. The company is also to restructure their management throughout the UK which could also lead to a further 110 job losses.
Morrison Supermarkets has today revealed full-year profit will be affected by customer spending cuts throughout the festive period and have said it will be at the lower end of market expectations. During the six weeks to Jan 5, total sales (exc. fuel) dropped by 1.9%. Like-for-like sales (exc. fuel) also dropped 5.6%. Chief Executive Dalton Phillips has said: “In a very tough market our sales performance over Christmas was disappointing. However we are firmly focused on driving our core business and accelerating our penetration of the fast growing channels”.
Standard Chartered -3.01%
Asia-focused bank, Standard Chartered has today said its Finance Director, Richard Meddings, is to leave the bank by June 2014 after 7 years in the role.
Tesco, the world’s second largest supermarket chain has today reported a decrease in Christmas sales. Total sales including fuel fell 1.6% and the company expects to report full-year profit results within market expectations of around £3.16bln – £3.42bln.
Spirent Communications -9.44%
Communications technology specialists, Spirent Communications, have today reported Q4 revenue of around $115m which is at the low end of guidance.